Sunday, May 22, 2011

Off-road action

We were on our way to a relaxing, casual hike at 7 a.m. on Saturday when this happened...

Yes, the automobile saga on St. Thomas continues.

When the tow truck driver arrived -- it was raining by that point -- I tried to tell him how it happened and he cut me off before I could get started.

"No, no, no," he said. "I don't even want to know."

Something told me that he has dealt with many drunken idiots who have rolled their cars off cliffs, into embankments or into store fronts. He just sort of smiled and gave me this look that suggested I get my story straight before the cops arrived.

It was 7 a.m. and the sun was barely up. How drunk could he presume I was?

Well, for the record, I wasn't drunk at all. Never touch the stuff. Actually, I was a little hung over, which in retrospect, may have effected my decision-making. Word to the wise boys and girls, when you're pushing a car out of a ditch and you have the car in neutral, make sure someone is behind the wheel.

So moments after the white Cherokee decided to go reverse snowboarding up a muddy cliff, about 12 fellow hikers emerged to add complete insult to injury. No one was actually hurt during the incident. However, our dignity absorbed a punch in the stomach.

The other hikers were friends and we decided that evasive action was needed. One person suggested we push the bastard out. Another had a tow truck guy on speed dial. We opted for the latter as everyone continued toward the trail and I was placed on public relations detail.

A social experiment immediately followed.

I was standing there, alone, in the rain, with a freaking car clinging to life on a muddy hill.

About every third car stopped to ask if I was OK and what happened and all the normal "I'm a good person so how can I help?" banter. I had to give prepared statements to these people because that stretch of road was on a dangerous hill and I didn't want to witness two driver-error accidents before breakfast.

Thoughtful Driver: "Is everyone OK?"
Confused hiker: "Quite lovely."

Thoughtful Driver: "Did you call for a tow?"
Confused hiker: "My father is on the way. No worries."

Thoughtful Driver: "What happened?"
Confused hiker: "No brakes."

Finally, I just decided to stand on the other side of the road. Watching people rubber-neck became my short-lived fascination. I could have taken off all my clothes and started to belly dance and not a single person would have saw me. They were all too busy looking at the carnage that was our automobile trying to blaze a trail to the top of Crown Mountain the hard way.

When the tow guy did come, he said there was a good chance I would be able to drive the car out of there. Of course, it all came for a price. He meticulously pulled the car off the cliff and started the engine. I was taken aback.

Moments before, I was wondering which junkyard he should tow the car to? How much money would another car cost? And where could I go to take belly-dancing classes?

After we got the car horizontal, I paid the man, slowly drove the car to nearby Brewers Beach, parked the wounded warrior and caught up to the other hikers. We hiked Santa Maria and did a little rock climbing near the beach. Of course, what actually happened to the car was the topic of conversation and the punch line for every joke the rest of the morning.

We went to Frenchtown Deli for breakfast and the Cherokee continued to stay on life support. She sounded horrible, but she was fighting for her life and I was there to massage her back to good health.

I'm not a car guy. I know the basics and I stay out of trouble. This car, however, is the definition of an "island car." I can only assume about 12 different people have owned it over the last 10 years and the cracks on the roof suggest that it's been rolled at least once (maybe twice). It all depends on how drunk the idiot behind the wheel was.

About 10 seconds before she over-heated in the middle of the road and we tried to push her off toward the side for safety, we talked about selling the piece of junk to some lonely sap that just moved here and wouldn't know any better. That lonely sap was us about 14 months ago.

We'd be lucky to get $800 for it. I mean, she's in pretty good condition (wink, wink). Just show me the carfax? I'll put this picture in the classified section...pure hilarity.


  1. I know some fresh meat moving down there. Want his number??

  2. Ahh, fresh meat you say? I believe this newcomer has a history with Jeep Cherokees. Give me his number and we'll talk business.